A bereft husband today faced the homeless man accused of murdering his wife and teenage son in a raid on their house that saw him stabbed six times.
Aaron Barley, 24, allegedly knifed to death Tracey Wilkinson, 50, and son Pierce, 13, at their home in Stourbridge in the West Midlands on March 30.
Mrs Wilkinson’s husband Peter Wilkinson, 47, was left seriously injured in the attack at the house and only learned his only son was dead after waking from life-saving surgery.
Today the widower held hands with their 18-year-old daughter Lydia, who was not at home when the incident happened, as they entered and left Birmingham Crown Court where Barley was in the dock.
Peter Wilkinson, 47, with 18-year-old daughter Lydia, who was not at home when Tracey, 50, and 13-year-old Pierce Wilkinson were stabbed to death, leave Birmingham Crown Court today
Aaron Barley (left on social media, and right sketched in the dock today) is facing murder charges at Birmingham Crown Court today
Barley is accused of entering the family home (pictured with flowers left after the attack) in the West Midlands and trying to kill the Wilkinsons
Inside Mr Wilkinson was sat just feet away from Barley who refused to look at the public gallery throughout the hearing and instead stared at the floor.
Wearing a maroon T-shirt with cropped hair and surrounded by four prison officers, Barley spoke only to confirm his name in the ten-minute hearing.
Mrs and Mrs Wilkinson pictured together – went into surgery knowing his wife was dead – when he woke up he discovered that his son had also perished
He was not required to enter any pleas as he remained emotionless in the dock.
Also in attendance at court was Tracey and Peter’s daughter Lydia, a university student, with her boyfriend, her granddad and three family friends.
The case was adjourned for trial on October 3 at Birmingham Crown Court which is scheduled to last for three weeks.
Mr Wilkinson fought for life in hospital while his daughter Lydia, 18, waited to find out if she had lost her entire family.
Speaking after the attack Mr Wilkinson described how his ‘happy family bubble’ had been destroyed.
Fighting back tears, he said in April: ‘We were such a tight unit as a family…we laughed a lot, joked a lot, loved each other and our dog.
‘Our lives revolved around each other – that’s gone now, and it’s devastating.
‘Our lives have just been shattered, we’re a family that’s been wrecked.’ As he was being taken to hospital he was aware he had lost his wife, but it was not until he came round from surgery that he was told his son had died as well.
‘I’d been semi-conscious until I went into theatre, and I knew that we’d lost Tracey,’ said Mr Wilkinson.
‘But it wasn’t until I woke up from the anaesthetic that I realised we’d lost Pierce too – it was the first question I asked. I was so drugged up, it just didn’t hit home for a long time.
‘Even now we’re still in shock – we still expect to see them.’
Mr Wilkinson said the man accused of carrying out the stabbings was known to the family, as his wife met him while he was homeless.
He said the family cared for the man on and off over the past 12 months but that he never lived with them.
Pierce Wilkinson (left), his sister Lydia Wilkinson and his father Peter Wilkinson (right) together for a greyhound charity months before the attack
Mr Wilkinson spent six days in intensive care after suffering stab wounds, lacerations to his face and nerve damage in the attack. He needed 97 stitches.
Speaking at his parents’ house near the family home in Stourbridge, West Midlands where the attack took place, he said: ‘We can’t believe we’re never going to see them again.
‘We’ve not just lost two of our nearest and dearest, we’ve also lost our home – we don’t feel like we can go back there now.’
Mr Wilkinson’s daughter Lydia, who was in her Bristol University halls of residence at the time of the attack, described how she thought she had ‘lost everybody’.
She said: ‘Initially I found out what had happened on social media and online – at first I just saw that there had been three stabbings and I didn’t know much more.
‘Soon after, I heard from the police. It was horrendous, just awful – I was on my own, but my friends rallied round me and my boyfriend’s parents came to pick me up from Bristol. [They] drove me straight back to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham, by which time Dad had just come out of theatre.’
She added: ‘They told me he was going to be OK – I just felt a massive sense of relief, I’d lost two family members and really thought I was going to lose Dad too.
‘It was so sudden and unexpected which makes it hurt even more. For a good few hours, I thought I had no one.’ She described her final memories of seeing her mother and brother when she returned home for a surprise visit days before the attack – prompting Mrs Wilkinson to say it was ‘the best Mother’s Day ever’.
Aaron Barley, 23, of no fixed address, has been charged with two counts of murder and one of attempted murder.
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